Investigating Mars: Melas Chasma

Scaled Image

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/ASU

About this image

Melas Chasma is part of the largest canyon system on Mars, Valles Marineris. At only 563 km long (349 miles) it is not the longest canyon, but it is the widest. Located in the center of Valles Marineris, it has depths up to 9 km below the surrounding plains, and is the location of many large landslide deposits, as will as layered materials and sand dunes. There is evidence of both water and wind action as modes of formation for many of the interior deposits. Today's image covers part of the floor of the canyon. At the top of the image is one of the many hills found on the floor in this region. The linear grooved surface is part of a landslide deposit. Melas Chasma has many large landslide regions. Landslide deposits often have grooved surfaces with the grooves parallel to the direction of movement as the slide occurred. The ends of the landslide typically have a lobate edge, and will flow around large preexisting landforms.

The Odyssey spacecraft has spent over 15 years in orbit around Mars, circling the planet more than 69000 times. It holds the record for longest working spacecraft at Mars. THEMIS, the IR/VIS camera system, has collected data for the entire mission and provides images covering all seasons and lighting conditions. Over the years many features of interest have received repeated imaging, building up a suite of images covering the entire feature. From the deepest chasma to the tallest volcano, individual dunes inside craters and dune fields that encircle the north pole, channels carved by water and lava, and a variety of other feature, THEMIS has imaged them all. For the next several months the image of the day will focus on the Tharsis volcanoes, the various chasmata of Valles Marineris, and the major dunes fields. We hope you enjoy these images!

Please see the THEMIS Data Citation Note for details on crediting THEMIS images. 


Image ID: 
V19112003 (View data in Mars Image Explorer)
2006-04-05 23:00
Fri, 2017-12-01
1024 pixels (18 km)
3648 pixels (64 km)
0.017661 km/pixel
0.0177427 km/pixel


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